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One Year On: Nick Maini (2017)

Posted on Sep 14

2 min read

Alumni Events & News

We catch up with Nick a year after he graduated with a Double First in Classics in 2020. Since leaving St John’s, Nick has been on a rotational graduate scheme with the Royal Bank of Canada in the City of London.

Nick with his sister Anoushka

How have you found the transition from Classics to Finance?

It’s a cliche, but I can attest that a Cambridge degree equips you with transferable skills that will serve you well in any career. Workplaces are looking for employees who pay attention to detail, are able to communicate clearly and have a curiosity for learning – precisely the skills that supervisions and college life teach you.

I have gone from studying different aspects of the Classical world – linguistics, archaeology and philosophy – to operating in the world of financial markets, investments and corporate finance. I have really enjoyed the steep learning curve, and I have met a fascinating range of new colleagues and clients. I have also had the chance to learn completely new skills in the form of formal qualifications (such as the Chartered Financial Analyst Program) as well as ‘on the desk’, where, for example, I have picked up the fundamentals of Python coding.

Upon arrival at St John’s as a fresher, we are encouraged to sign up to a new sport or a new society. Heading into the workplace, I would offer the same advice: be open-minded and embrace new opportunities.

How was the experience of beginning your career in a virtual environment?

I imagine that most undergraduates are now well-versed in the virtual world after a year of online learning! Joining a company virtually is very similar – it requires you to be proactive in building a network and communicating with colleagues.

After graduating in absentia, I worked for nine months without ever stepping foot in the office. In recent weeks, however, the team has returned to the bank’s premises. There are certainly benefits to flexible working. However, the thrill of entering the City and the value of observing experienced colleagues in person cannot be beaten.

What do you wish you knew about the job market as an undergraduate?

My top advice for current undergraduates would be to make the most of your short time at Cambridge, and immerse yourself in college and faculty life.

That said, if you are considering a career in the financial services sector, it is worth planning ahead. Many firms offer insight days known as ‘Spring Weeks’. These take place around Easter, but applications open early, often during Michaelmas term. I was blissfully unaware of these opportunities in my first year, but they offer a unique chance to discover whether a career in finance is for you. If you like what you see, having a Spring Week under your belt will make the path to summer internships (and, ultimately, job offers) much easier.

Have you managed to maintain your hobbies and stay connected to St John’s?

After work, I still find time for swimming, piano and painting. Earlier this summer, I returned to Cambridge to play at May Week events with my Jazz Quintet, Magnetik Lettuce. Dusting down my saxophone and playing live music again after so many months of lockdowns was a joy. Hopefully, future years will offer more opportunities to reconnect with St John’s, including attending my graduation ceremony!

Nick and Jazz Quintet Magnetik Lettuce